What We're Reading - "BBB Investigates Suspicious Timeshare Resale Company"

What We're Reading - "BBB Investigates Suspicious Timeshare Resale Company"

How’s this for an attention grabber?

“Timeshare Resale Company claims to be on the 23rd floor of a 9 story building.”

This stunning little sentence comes courtesy of a press release from the Better Business Bureau, fleshed out further here, thanks to timeshare news site Inside the Gate. It’s a brazen example of evasion from an alleged timeshare resale company that the BBB is investigating for suspicious activities stemming from multiple consumer complaints.  

According to reports, the BBB began receiving inquiries about this alleged timeshare resale LLC in 2016; here’s one consumer’s story, according to Inside the Gate:

“The consumer was told that the company had been hired by a large Dutch brewing company to acquire many timeshares in Mexico. The complaint states that the consumer was asked to wire $1558 in fees to a bank in Mexico and was told that money would be kept in an escrow account until the sale was final. The consumer complied with this request, which was immediately followed by an additional request to wire $3500 more. The consumer became suspicious and later confirmed with the bank in Mexico that the account the funds were received into was in fact a checking account, not an escrow account. Additionally, the bank confirmed the funds were no longer in the account.”

The company in question claims to be based out of Peoria, IL; however, the BBB could not find any listing of the company with the Illinois Secretary of State’s office, nor with the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation.

What We're Reading - "Are Timeshare Stocks A Ticking Time Bomb?'

What We're Reading - "Are Timeshare Stocks A Ticking Time Bomb" (Source: pexels.com - used as royalty free image)

It’s hard to deny that the timeshare industry, dominated by a few major resort developers, can be highly profitable for investors. But one stock market expert has a warning: “The 'timeshare industry'… is a ticking time bomb ready to explode.”

That dire prediction comes from an article, “Are Timeshare Stocks A Ticking Time Bomb?,” published recently on investment research and news site Seeking Alpha.

Why the bleak outlook on the future of the timeshare marketplace? The writer of the article cites a few factors well-known to anyone with experience in and around the industry – most of which we’ve touched on in our own learning center. These key factors include:

Customer dissatisfaction

As the writer notes, citing ARDA’s own statistics: “83% owner satisfaction = 17% owner dissatisfaction, with 9.1 million US owners that means 1,547,000 dissatisfied owners ­ that's a lot of unhappy customers however you run the numbers.”

High rates of timeshare-related scams and fraud

What We're Reading - "Commerce Commissioner Warns of New Type of Timeshare Resale Scam"

What We're Reading - "Commerce Commissioner Warns of New Type of Timeshare Resale Scam"

The timeshare resale market is notoriously unfriendly to consumers. Due in large part to systematic suppression on the part of major resort developers, the secondary market for timeshares has become loaded with pitfalls and dangers, the most treacherous of which is the timeshare resale scam.

We’ve written about the most common steps of this all-too-common scam before: In most cases, a consumer is approached by a timeshare reseller who claims to have interested buyers eager to make a transaction. This reseller requests money upfront for fees and charges. Once the consumer wires the money or sends a money order or cashier’s check, the business becomes uncommunicative, failing to follow up on the alleged sale or else seeming to drop off the face of the earth entirely, leaving the consumer out of a significant amount of money – and still on the hook for their interest and maintenance fee payments.

If there’s one bright spot in all of this, it’s that consumer protection watchdogs and advocates across the country have picked up on this pernicious scheme, and are doing their part to arm consumers with the knowledge it takes to avoid getting swindled.

What We're Reading - "Credit Reports to Exclude Certain Negative Information, Boosting FICO Scores"

What We're Reading - "Credit Reports to Exclude Certain Negative Information, Boosting FICO Scores"

Millions of Americans are about to see a boost in their FICO scores, thanks to a recent decision from three major credit reporting firms to remove many tax liens and civil judgments from credit reports.

The three firms - Equifax Inc., Experian PLC and TransUnion – have decided to remove “tax-lien and civil-judgement data starting around July 1,” according to a trade group that represents them. According to the Wall Street Journal, the omissions will apply “if those data don’t include a complete list of at least three data points,” including a person’s name, address, and either a social security number or date of birth.

As AnnaMaria Andriotis notes in the Journal:

“Many liens and most judgments don’t include all three or four. This change will apply to new tax-lien and civil-judgment data that are added to credit reports as well as existing data on the reports.”

The reason for the shift? In large part, consumers have the CFPB and other regulatory advocates to thank; the consumer protection agency has argued for improved standards for public records data “by using better identity-matching criteria and updating records more frequently.” This is an important matter for consumers, as one in five has an error in at least one of their three credit reports, according to a 2013 FTC study.

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